Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)
Author(s): Liz Niven
Copyright holder(s): Liz Niven
It’s great tae hae gathert thegither, the furst an earliest works o this foremaist Scottish poet. Collectit ower sic a lang nummer o year, we are gien access an insicht intae somebodie’s life, luives an passions. Even thou she says herself, in ‘A Giveaway’, ‘Poets don’t bare their souls, they bare their skill’, it’s shairly no possible tae hide aw yer soul’s preoccupations ower twinty year o work. Sae monie picters o a life baith real an imaginary, read in its entirety, it’s an astonishin mixter o sic a wide rynge o themes.
The buik’s peoplt by sisters, granparents, lovers, workers at the Barras, fairy tale characters, Lewis Islanders. There’s no much missin fae this poet’s attentions. An humour sits side by side wi daith an sadness as she explores a myriad o human relationships across this countrie as weel as across continents.
Alberta, Ontario, the banks o the Hudson, time spent in Canada provide rich material for a nummer o poems leavin the reader wi snatches o life amang a land o prairies, railways an Cape Cod barbecues. In ‘The Carnival Horses’, the exquisite line, ‘All along Hudson they are sanding down/ the carnival horses’ lends a dreamlike quality wi echoes o Larkin’s ‘Whitsun Wedding’ in its recountin o the activities tae be seen that day.
The wonderful section, ‘Grimm Sisters’ explores weel kent fairy tale characters and stories, spinnin a modrin slant ontae familiar myths. Tam Lin stickin his girlfreen oan the last bus, Rapunzel ‘keener than a TV quizmaster’, Ariadne’s mother is ‘mincing around in that rawhide trouser suit’. These are clever twentieth centurie takes oan legends fae wir stock o classic tales.
‘Memo for Spring’ brings back early Lochhead work. Poems fae the poet’s childhood luik fondly oan pals like Mary wi the same coloured ribbons, or Daft Annie fae the same village, while failed and staled luive affairs are postmortemed wi a cauld een. In ‘Morning After’, a failin relationship is analysed as the Sunday newspapers are read, ‘you flick too quickly/ too casually through the pages, with/ too passing/ an interest.’
The reader of this fine collection o poems willnae flick too quickly at aw. Mair likely, readers will return again an again tae relish the skill an imagination an honestie o this lang awaited Collected poems.
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Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead). 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1008.
"Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. September 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1008.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)," accessed September 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1008.
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